Race Street (1948): Martin’s Crime Noir, Starring George Raft, William Bendix and Marilyn Maxwell

Edwin L. Marin directed Race Street, a well-executed crime film, starring George Raft, William Bendix and Marilyn Maxwell.

The script was based on a magazine serial by Maurice Davis. which appeared in “Turf} and “Sport Digest,” December 1945 to March 1946.

Upset when his bookie Hal Towers (Harry Morgan) is killed, nightclub owner Dan Gannin (Raft) intends to do something about it quickly–there’s a personal score I gotta settle.

His police friend Lt. Runson (William Bendix) warns him not to take the law into his own hands, and his girlfriend, Robbie (Marilyn Maxwell), a war widow, is also concerned.

Surprisingly, when thugs working for a mob boss beat Dan, Robbie is also in the room. Robbie, a femme fatale type, is not a widow but the showgirl ex-wife of the crime kingpin, Phil Dixon, still working for him.  Dan recalls the scent of her perfume while he was blindfolded.

Lt. Runson provide Dan protective custody, but another bookie betrays Dan to the mob. The lieutenant is about to be shot, when Dan intercepts the bullet (and then dies.  “I’m still around,” says Runson in the film’s last sentence, “cause I have a good friend.”

Raft gives a strong, tough performance, able to show sensitivity when he meets with his younger sister, Gale (Elaine Gannin).

Most of this film noir is set indoors, with few on location shots of San Francisco.

George Raft as Daniel J. ‘Dan’ Gannin
William Bendix as Lt. Barney Runson
Marilyn Maxwell as Robbie Lawrence
Frank Faylen as Phil Dixon
Harry Morgan as Hal Towers
Gale Robbins as Elaine Gannin
Cully Richards as Mike Hadley
Mack Gray as Stringy
Russell Hicks as Easy Mason



Directed by Edwin L. Marin
Produced by Nat Holt
Screenplay by Martin Rackin
Story by Maurice Davis
Music by Roy Webb
Cinematography: J. Roy Hunt
Edited by Samuel E. Beetley
Distributed by RKO Pictures
Release date: June 22, 1948
Running time: 79 minutes


I am grateful to TCM for showing the film on December 5, 2019.